What does a book coach do?
A book coach is a professional guide who helps a writer on their journey. The finish line can be a single round of editing, the end of a specific project, or a whole career. A book coach comes prepared to analyze a writing project and provide suggestions on how to make it better while retaining a wide-scope of the publishing world.
Book coaches use their skills in writing and their knowledge of the publishing world to help writers. Working on a one-to-one basis allows a book coach to meet a writer where they are in their specific journey and help them push forward.
Imagine these 3 writers who could benefit from working with a book coach:
- Carly finishes draft 2 of her science fiction project. Widely published in romance but new to science fiction, Carly is uncertain how the manuscript stands up against others in the genre. A coach specializing in the correct science fiction subgenre can point out how Carly can improve the speculative elements. Along the way, the book coach will tune up the plot with a developmental edit.
- Alex, on the other hand, knows weird fiction like the back of a magical, snake-infested marshland. But they need help navigating the waters of publishing and asks a book coach for help navigating their writing career launch. The coach susses out Alex’s values and true goals before guiding them on their way.
- Finally, Rashid got bad advice from his critique group. Instead of helping him hone his unique voice as a writer, each member left an unpleasant imprint on his work and Rashid had a crisis of confidence. A book coach can use a line edit to help Rashid narrow in on his voice and make sure it shines throughout the book.
How is a book coach different than an editor?
Today’s freelance editors zoom in on a manuscript or short story, take it apart, and tell you exactly how to make it better. A book coach widens outwards to look at the scope of your goals, takes your writing career apart, and tells you exactly how to make your current work-in-progress better to help you achieve these goals.
The big publishing house editors of yesteryear were more similar to what a book coach is today because they used to work with a writer over their career and guide them on their professional journey–in addition to editing an individual manuscript. This has changed in a big way. Editors at publishing houses work hard on numerous books in a month, even as staff numbers shrink. If you want personalized attention with depth, a writing coach can help.
While we’re on the topic of what a book coach is and isn’t, keep in mind a book coach is not a ghost writer, publicist, or publishing company. Think of it literally—a book coach is someone who coaches you on your journey. Just as with sports coaches, book coaches have track records that speak for themselves, but there is no guarantee of a set measure of success. It’s still ultimately up to writer to run the race.
How does a book coach impact a writer’s journey?
Each book coach has their own style and preferences when it comes to connecting with writer clients. That’s why it’s important to meet and talk before signing on with a book coach. This is beneficial for both sides as they seek to learn if the partnership is a good fit.
Like our friends Alex, Carly, and Rashid, each writer has unique needs. Some might need accountability. Others need to build their writing craft chops.
Most likely, your own needs and areas for improvement as a writer are multi-faceted. Researching multiple book coaches will ensure you choose one that specializes in your most pressing areas.
What does the process look like?
A book coach will likely onboard by seeking to understand more about your goals and current project. This might look like a series of forms, a phone call, or, as we do at Conquer Books, an in-depth video call to lay the groundwork for our time together.
Then, a coach will work with you on those specific areas you’ve identified. Because this isn’t life coaching or business coaching, the work centers around your current work in progress. Your coach should read heavily through your work and create comprehensive feedback so you can make it better.
Along the way, they may give you additional resources or set goals based on what you need to do to level up. This could look like a video series on character development or a PDF on the differences between traditional and indie publishing (sign up for our newsletter to get one of our writer resources for free). Throughout the period of your contract, you’ll be in touch often. At Conquer Books, we prefer e-mail and video calls.
Writers typically work alone, in their own heads, and working with a book coach can be a refreshing experience. Writers better understand how their work is perceived by others and get the opportunity to talk through their writing goals with a professional.
What is the Conquer Books coaching style?
Nicole and I are experienced book coaches that specialize in science fiction and fantasy. We are passionate about working to improve specific projects, but also to equip writers with skills they can draw on for the rest of their careers.
If book coaching sounds like it could level up your writing career, send us some information about you and your current project. We read and respond to every submission. If we think we might be a good fit for your specific project, we’ll schedule a free 20-minute consult to talk further.